Advice for Job Seekers from Jan Dixon at The Red Group

I know that many people, when they face the prospect of finding and securing a new position find it difficult: What do I apply for? Is my CV good enough? Am I good enough? How do I prepare for interview?

As a recruitment professional I know and understand the full recruitment process however here’s Dave, a job seeker and his experiences so far.

Dave (a real person but not his real name) was made redundant earlier this year following a company re-structure. Dave has worked all his life and after spending over 15 years with his last company, the prospect of finding something else is daunting.

First Steps
  • You need to adjust to not going to work. Not being with work colleagues and feeling like you have no purpose.
  • Don’t blame yourself; this will only take you on a downward spiral.
  • Career direction – what do you want to do? Is it realistic? Achievable?
  • Financial Management – be honest about your household budget (income against outgoings is going to be affected).
  • Maintain contact with your own network.
  • Get a professional advisor to help you with assessing yourself, your skills & experience and understand your transferable skills. Where could I use my skills? Get a different perspective from others. How do others see you?
CV Preparation
  • Develop and be prepared to amend your CV per job role/application.
  • Don’t pay to have your CV written – it won’t be in your words or how you talk about yourself or your job roles.
  • Seek advice from a professional. Recruitment consultants will offer to review your CV & give suggestions. This is a free service. Once you have received feedback from all the support you have received, re-write your own CV. Use your own words. Your CV is your selling tool.
Target Market
  • Send CV to target companies (after research). Follow up with a ‘phone call. Do try and speak to someone. Emails can be ignored.
  • Send CV / application form only for job roles that match your criteria (target company, location, salary, job content, etc.). Don’t waste time on applying for jobs if they don’t match your criteria.
  • Attend relevant business seminars, career fairs.
  • Be able to clearly communicate who are and what you have to offer.
  • Get some business cards printed as these are useful to hand out. Name, contact details and a relevant strapline is all that is needed.
Applying for Jobs
  • Take time to read through job description, job advert. Talk to the recruiter or hiring company to get more information. Re-assess if it’s still right for you.
  • Fully complete application forms and ensure you highlight any relevant keywords or achievements, find some common matches.
Interview Preparation / Interviews
  • Preparation for interview – very important – using all you have learnt from previous steps.
  • Interviews – majority so far have been handled by HR/recruitment consultant – discovered this is only the 1st & 2nd filter of the recruitment process.
  • These 1st interviews tend to be based around salary, cultural fit and do not allow candidate to talk about their fit to the organisation. Basically no chance to talk about yourself & your skills. Felt like a wasted opportunity.
  • What’s been more positive, in terms of feedback, is the opportunity to speak to the hiring manager, or a face to face interview has taken place.


We have advised Dave to keep up to speed with all aspects of his area of specialisation, research potential employers; search job boards and keep in contact with his network. He continues to be selective in terms of job roles and companies.

Jan Dixon, The RED Group

Jan has 25 years of recruitment under her belt. At The RED Group she supports small businesses & charities with their office recruitment and supports job seekers with workshops or 1-2-1 discussions on CV writing; job hunting; interview preparation.

If you need any advice please contact Jan at or 01635 799774


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